In today’s insecure climate, the story of Qurbani comes as a breath of fresh air that guides our Faith in Allah Almighty to even deeper levels.
Let’s remind ourselves the story of our Prophet Ibrahim (as) and his numerous acts of supreme trust in our Creator over his lifetime.
Ibrahim’s (as) childhood
Prophet Ibrahim (as) was born in a family of idolaters. His father used to make god-like statues with his own hands.
But Ibrahim (as) never saw those big-eared statues as more than giant toys he could play with. This is because the presence of God was always with him, even from birth.
“Indeed, We bestowed aforetime on Abraham his (portion of) guidance, and We were well acquainted with him (as to his Belief in the Oneness of Allah, etc.)”- Quran, 21:51.
Always choosing Allah (swt)
Further in life, Ibrahim (as) has remained a symbol of virtue. He took Dawah upon himself. He even argued with those who worshipped idols, including his father.
Today, he continues to inspire through the robustness of his Faith.
“O my father! to me hath come knowledge which hath not reached thee: so follow me: I will guide thee to a way that is even and straight. O my father! serve not Satan: for Satan is a rebel against (Allah) Most Gracious. O my father! I fear lest a Penalty afflict thee from (Allah) Most Gracious, so that thou become to Satan a friend.” [Surah Maryam 19:43-45]
When he saw he could not save his people from the Fire of hell, Ibrahim (as) learnt to surrender. He left to follow his Creator.
The ultimate sacrifice
In his whole life, the Prophet Ibrahim (as) had only one ardent wish: he wanted a child. And, at the age of eighty-six, Allah (swt) gave him the gift of a precious son: Ismail.
“So, We gave him the good news of a boy ready to suffer and forbear.” [Surah Al Saffat 37:101]
We might think Ibrahim (as) had already shown his devotion to Allah (swt) throughout his life. But the true act of faithfulness and complete surrender to God’s plan was yet to happen.
One night, Allah (swt) revealed Himself to Ibrahim in a dream and asked him to sacrifice his one and only son, Ismail (as). Many of us would be horrified by such a request, but Ibrahim and his son accepted the will of God, both with sadness and honour.
“And when he (his son) was old enough to walk with him, he said, ‘O my son! I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you (offer you in sacrifice to Allah), so look what do you think?” (Qur’an, 37:102).
One day, Ibrahim took Ismail on mount Arafat and, exactly when the knife reached his son’s throat, a voice asked him to stop.
“O Ibrahim, You have fulfilled the vision.” Indeed, We thus reward the doers of good. Indeed, this was the clear trial. And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice, And We left for him [favourable mention] among later generations: “Peace upon Ibrahim.” Indeed, We thus reward the doers of good. Indeed, he was of Our believing servants’ (Qur’an, 37: 103-11).
A beautiful ram took Ismail’s place in the sacrifice that day.
What can we learn from Ibrahim’s (as) devotion?
It is not possible for us to ever reach the same level of dedication to Allah (swt), courage and strength, but we can learn many lessons from our Prophet Ibrahim (as):
- Sabr (patience)
Ibrahim (as) was constantly tried throughout his life, but he never lost trust. Allah (swt) only sends us tests to teach us patience, so we should gather our strength from Him and only Him.
“And indeed we will try you with fear, hunger, damage to your wealth and lives and give glad tidings to the patient” (Al-Baqara: 155).
Courage is the ability to face our fears and stand for our beliefs. Ibrahim (as) had the courage to confront his father in the name of Allah (swt). He never feared rejection when he taught his people to turn away from the worship of idols and pray to the One and Only Allah.
Qadi ‘Iyad says, “Prophet Ibrahim (as) was often to be found in dangerous situations. He went more than once into difficult places from which the valiant and heroic had fled. He was firm and did not leave. He advanced and did not retreat nor waver” (Al-Shifa).
- Raising our children the right way
We are responsible for our children’s mindset in the same way we are for their physical wellbeing. When our Prophet Ibrahim (as) told Ismail about his dream, the son was so filled with love for God that he did not second guess His will even for a moment.
“O my father! Do as you are commanded. If Allah wills, you shall find me of the patient” (Qur’an, 37:102).
This is only proof that Ibrahim (as) has instilled deep moral values in his child. In nowadays society, this is more essential than ever.
The significance of a good Qurbani
Every year, on Eid Al-Adha we celebrate Ibrahim’s devotion to Allah (swt) with our own animal sacrifice.
Qurbani, also known as Udhiya, is a compulsory act of worship for all abled Muslims. For many poor people, this is the only time in the year when they get to eat meat. In rural areas, where Qurbani is performed directly by the family, this ritual is taken very seriously, and no part of the animal goes to waste in the process. After performing the sacrifice, people distribute the meat to the poor in their community and celebrate the spirit of togetherness.
When we entrust our Qurbani to a charity, we should make sure the sacrifice will be carried out with utmost care, as Allah (swt) only receives it when all His conditions have been met.
What are those conditions?
- Say Takbeer during the sacrifice.
- Choose healthy animals with no physical handicap.
- Not all animals are eligible for Qurbani. We should only sacrifice cattle, goats, sheep and camels.
- Don’t forget the right timing! It has to be done on Eid al-Adha, after the Eid prayer – this means any time between the 10th and 13th day of Dhul Hijjah.
Make sure to read our Qurbani Rules and Regulations Guide (link to guide) to understand all the important rules one must follow when making this sacrifice.